Auto Insurance: 3rd party vs comprehensive

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Auto insurance may not sound so important to you. Like most people, you probably grudgingly settle for a third party policy each year because it costs less. But perhaps you need to reconsider this. I have a personal experience to share that illustrates the importance of having a comprehensive car insurance policy on your vehicle.

I grew up learning about automobile insurance from dad’s cars. From the time I could understand it, I noticed that he always had auto insurance on his cars. The concept is quite nifty – pay a small annual premium to the insurance company so that should there be an accident, the insurance company bears the cost of repairs.

If you never have an accident, the insurance company keeps the money. If you do, the insurance company comes to your rescue. It works similar to health insurance. All insurance works that way. Do note that there are two main types of auto insurance – third party and comprehensive.

car / auto insurance cover

Comprehensive vs 3rd Party Insurance for Car

A third party policy protects you against the claims of another party – which is why it is called “third party”. If you damage someone else’s car, your insurance company will cover the costs of that person’s car but not yours. You take care of your own bills. A comprehensive policy covers the cost, minus your deductible, of repairing or replacing your car.

Naturally, a 3rd party insurance cover costs much less than a comprehensive cover. As such, what most people have on their cars is a third party auto insurance policy.

However, it is a good idea to count the cost before deciding which of the two to take up.

My Story

Some nine (9) years ago, several years after we had been paying for comprehensive automobile insurance without any incident, something happened. Something mega. I was driving along a dual carriageway one workday morning. It was still dawn. Everything seemed to be well with the world. I had just dropped my wife for work and was heading back when suddenly I saw a pair of headlamps flash my way from across the carriageway.

The vehicle that hurtled my way crossed the divider and rammed into my car. A quick impulsive response on my part probably saved my life, as I found out later. There was a lot of noise, some darkness, loss of orientation on my part, and then finally silence.

My head cleared momentarily and I struggled to get out of the car, but the driver’s door was jammed. It wouldn’t open. I crawled out through the front passenger’s side and took a look at the car before sitting on the kerb. My car was hanging on the divider. The front axle was totally destroyed and the entire left side was gone. The car was a wreck. The vehicle that hit me was a commercial bus. It now rested in the middle of the road some distance away.


Comprehensive Auto Insurance Saved The Day

I called for help and we were able to take photographs of the situation and make an insurance claim on the car. What we had was a comprehensive auto insurance policy. It took some weeks, but the insurance company came through. Because the car was a write-off, we were paid an amount close to the market value of the vehicle at the time, which made it possible for us to replace the car.

Without that comprehensive auto insurance policy, we would have ended up in a fix. A third party policy wouldn’t have helped with fixing the car or getting a replacement. With a third party insurance cover, we would have been responsible for fixing or replacing the car. If you can afford it, you really should get a comprehensive auto insurance cover.

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  1. I have never believed in (comprehensive) insurance of any type.

    The reason is simple… The likelihood of something like your case happening is so low that insurance is almost always a waste of money. The statistics show that the likelihood of mishaps like your own is low to non existent

    Why do you think Insurance companies often own banks? They are awash with cheap funds that fear_gripped customers dash the name of premiums.

    Life itself is a risk. Why don’t every human insure his life comprehensively as we may not wake up tomorrow?

  2. Thanks mo….
    I am a believer of mitigating risk generally. Shit do happens. My problem was the belief that insurers do not pay. But from your story and a friend of mine who incidentally lives in Lagos too, it seems it is changing. Can you recommend 2 car insurance company that pay promptly. Thanks

    1. Jujukemist,

      I am told that most of them pay prompt now. Custodian Insurance and LeadWay come recommended by insiders. Leadway Assurance was where we had our policy at the time of the accident, so I’d say give them a shot too. All the best.

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